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Unfinished Gestures

Soneji, Davesh:
Unfinished Gestures : Devadasis, Memory, and Modernity in South India / Davesh Soneji. - Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2012. - xiii, 313 S. : Ill. - (South Asia Across the Disciplines)
ISBN 978-0-226-76809-0
US$ 72,00 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-226-76810-6
US$ 24,00 (Paperback)
ISBN 978-0-226-76811-3
US$ 24,00 (E-Book)
DDC: 306.694538082 (DDC 23)

Unfinished Gestures presents the social and cultural history of courtesans in South India who are generally called devadasis, focusing on their encounters with colonial modernity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Following a hundred years of vociferous social reform, including a 1947 law that criminalized their lifestyles, the women in devadasi communities contend with severe social stigma and economic and cultural disenfranchisement. Adroitly combining ethnographic fieldwork with historical research, Davesh Soneji provides a comprehensive portrait of these marginalized women and unsettles received ideas about relations among them, the aesthetic roots of their performances, and the political efficacy of social reform in their communities.
    Poignantly narrating the history of these women, Soneji argues for the recognition of aesthetics and performance as a key form of subaltern self-presentation and self-consciousness. Ranging over courtly and private salon performances of music and dance by devadasis in the nineteenth century, the political mobilization of devadasi identity in the twentieth century, and the post-reform lives of women in these communities today, Unfinished Gestures charts the historical fissures that lie beneath cultural modernity in South India. [Verlagsinformation]

Acknowledgments. ix
Introduction: On Historical, Social, and Aesthetic Borderlands. 1
1. Producing Dance in Colonial Tanjore. 27
2. Whatever Happened to the South Indian Nautch? Toward a Cultural History of Salon Dance in Madras. 70
3. Subterfuges of “Respectable” Citizenship: Marriage and Masculinity in the Discourse of Devadāsī Reform. 112
4. Historical Traces and Unfinished Subjectivity: Remembering Devadāsī Dance at Viralimalai. 161
5. Performing Untenable Pasts: Aesthetics, and Selfhood in Coastal Andhra Pradesh. 189
Coda: Gesturing to Devadāsī Pasts in Today’s Chennai. 222
Appendix 1: Selected Documents from the Files of Muthulakshmi Reddy. 227
Appendix 2: The Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act of 1947. 235
Notes. 237
References. 371
Index. 297

DAVESH SONEJI is associate professor of South Asian religions at McGill University. He is coeditor of Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India and editor of Bharatanatyam: A Reader. Profile page..

Quellen: University of Chicago Press; WorldCat; Google Books; Amazon; Library of Congress